Burglars target Harvey victims for newly replaced items

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Burglars are targeting Harvey victims for newly replaced items.

First, there was looting. Now, burglars are targeting all those new appliances and electronics flood victims have had to buy after Hurricane Harvey.

"I think it's worth getting the word out.," said Patricia Gassman of the break-in at her parents' southwest Houston home. "Their goal was to get back in by Thanksgiving and now they've been burglarized."

Flooding forced Gassman's parents to leave their home of 44 years and move in with her sister as workers repair the damage. When crews arrived Monday morning, they found the window on the back door smashed open. A big-screen television and computers were missing. The couple's personal information was potentially compromised.

"It's a shame. It's a shame that people are taking advantage and re-victimizing the victims," Gassman said.

Not too far away, Houston police and Precinct 5 Constable deputies responded on Friday night to another break-in of a home vacant due to flooding. Police say two men had backed up a U-Haul truck with the intent to load up appliances. Kenneth Bradley, 32, with a long list of prior charges, was arrested and charged with burglary. A manhunt for his accomplice turned up nothing.

"Now they're targeting the items that are being replaced inside the homes," Gassman said.

Gassman thinks burglars are seeing new opportunities and wants her parents' break-in to be a warning.

If you can't live at your home while it is being repaired, police suggest placing your home on a "vacation" watch list, if possible and secure it as best you can. Also, stay in touch with neighbors who are still on the street so they can be on the lookout for people who don't belong.

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